Steel Town Cycles at 5 🎉🎉

On September 1st STC will be 5 years old. We’ve helped many of you over the years, some that are still riding, some that aren’t. You’re all brilliant for your different reasons. We’re looking forward to another 5 years and for many more folks helped to enjoy their cycling. We aren’t going anywhere forward without you. No rider left behind. So from the bottom of the STC family hearts we salute you. Chapeau!!!

Some pictures of bikes and guys that have called by over the years.

As a former racing cyclist our owner/mechanic Jonathan set up Steel Town Cycles with the vision of giving our passion and experience back. Over a lifetime of riding bicycles of various types and in various disciplines, Mountain bike, Road and cyclocross to name a few we’ve picked up a thing or two. Always happy to have a chat and give advice or simply to repair those bike issues that you have.

Part of the function of a small independent bike shop is to be the place you can drop in for advice. We are a cycling community hub, pun intended. We have plenty of that! Though our love is for Road/Gravel riding these days, we are comfortable and proficient at repairs on many different types of bike. What you pay for at Steel Town Cycles is that up to date knowledge and a Cytech Technician. You can be assured that your bike will be treated like our own. We are professional and fully insured, unlike some.

In moving forward we are beginning to stock refurbished bikes, we currently have a small collection, and will buy your old ones too, wether it be trading them in or just wanting someone else to get some use out of a good quality bike.

As some will already know we have moved the shop to Derwent Street. It’s bigger and will allow us to develop what we can offer. New signs will be going up soon to make us easier to find.

We still sell many accessories and commonly needed repair items. We’d love to be celebrating our 10th and 15th anniversary with you guys but we need your help. Spread the word, tell all of your friends and family where we are. If you live in Blackhill tell people who ask there is a bike shop here. We have lots more things that we can offer but only by your continued support.

On Saturday 28th of August, it’s National Bike Shop day. Much like National record shop day it aims to highlight just how vitality important a resource we are. Use it or loose it! It also gives our customers new and existing a chance to celebrate the glory of 2 wheels or 3 if you ride a trike 😁. It’s in its infancy only the 3rd year, so go on support your local community bike shop on August 28th. We’ll be open from 10am – 17:30. We are friendly and not in the slightest bit elitist. Cycling is for everyone can be inexpensive. It’s one of the best ways to appreciate the fabulous countryside that we have. Make a day of it take a picnic.

Freedom Day, Monday 19th July ‘21 – A light at the end of the tunnel?

As many of you know, we have continued to work throughout the Covid pandemic keeping you and your bikes rolling. Often working long hours to get your bike done and you out on the road/trails again. We thank everyone, customers old and new for your continued support. Bikes are our passion and we hope we’ve done our part in inspiring you.

With having the larger premises now we are going to be able to offer more. We’ve dabbled with bike sales over the years. However due to the difficulties regards sourcing them at the moment all our efforts have been towards Service/Repair and custom bike builds. Bikes may not be in stock, but we can preorder. We do also sell many accessories, tyres, tubes and components for different types of bike. All curated by cyclists who still ride. We don’t stock what we wouldn’t use ourselves.

We are professionally trained Cytech) and time served. With nearly 20 years of experience. We are fully insured, to protect your pride and joy. We all make mistakes (rarely😉) and we don’t want you to be disadvantaged in any way. We’ve been insured since day 1. Read our reviews on social media, google or our website. The heart of our ethos is the simple intention to help and inspire our local community and beyond.

Only with your continued support will we be able to continue offering the best independent bike shop services and advice. The pandemic has been tough on us all and continues to challenge businesses all over the north east. Where it is possible please support your local businesses and services. This money often goes back into the local economy. We spend in local shops where possible, supporting and protecting local jobs. Loyalty is a rarity these days but if we can encourage you to keep supporting those local businesses and Services that would be awesome. (Us included-of course)

We are fortunate in our geographical location, so much variety on and off-road Something for everyone. We have some of best and most beautiful countryside in the country on our doorsteps Get out on your bikes and appreciate it at a slower pace. Take in what life normally has you accelerating past.

We have messages coming from many different sources in this Information Age. When I grew up in the seventies there was a community spirit. During the pandemic I think some of these values have returned. That’s a good thing right? Looking after each other, being kind, shopping local. It seems that we are emerging from the restrictions but we still need to be kind and look after our nearest and dearest.

From Monday 21st and due to our concerns for yours and our continued safety.

We’d like to politely ask if you would still; observe wearing face coverings, hand washing, if there are two customers in the shop, please wait outside until at least one person leaves.

Use contactless payment methods or BACS transfer (details are in our emailed invoices).

We’ll continue to wear gloves while working on your bikes and regularly washing our hands.

Please do not come past the counter unless invited to do so by staff.

We respect your right to follow the above rules or choose not to as there will be no legal requirement. If there are other customers in the shop, please respect their right to be safe and well too. By working together in our community and beyond and supporting others we’ll get through this together.

Stay Safe , Stay Active – on 2 wheels of course, Stay Well, get your Vaccine, it really isn’t that bad. Look after yourself and others

Getting ready for small group rides 😁

Over lockdown we have had to put the rides group on hold due to the restrictions and social distancing. Some of our group have been getting out on Solo missions

We are looking forward to getting out again and enjoying the social side of our rides group. Thank you to the guys that have continued to post and share their routes and experiences.

The group was set up to encourage us all to get as much out of cycling as possible in and around our beautiful area. Of course everyone has different things that they want to get out of cycling. The competitive cyclist, The radonneur, leisure, fitness and family cyclists.

The aim of the group was/is to bring all these guys together and enjoy rides, both on and off-road but with a no drop policy. This is at the heart of out ethos. Cycling is accessible to all!! That’s as true now as it was 29 years ago when I bought my first Mountain bike with my own money. Of course you get out of it what you put in.

Cycles have become more advanced in many ways but the same classic design remains. The cost of such machines has gone up and up and continues to do so. When I bought my first domestique level road bike in 1993/94, I’m old I can’t remember quite which year I was a shock to be spending so much on a bike. As I’m sure many have justified it to themselves, friends and family- including the fibs about how much they spent- Yes, that’s you!!

Anyway, enough of my reminiscing. The important thing is that we all get more active to relieve stress on an overburdened health service. The finest in the world, so we’re told. A conversation that could be expanded on, but that’s beyond the scope of this blog.

Cycling has been part of my life for 35 years or more. It’s made me strong, it’s been a support when I’ve needed it. I’ve gained some really great friends from it. Some are scattered to the four winds, some close by. I’m looking forward to getting out with you all again. Cycling is both a solitary and group activity. I’m passionate about it. I fall in and out of love with it. But I always come back.

When the rides group restarts, I’ll be looking for a few reliable ride leaders. Mostly for the week day evening ride. These would be the same as before 1 1/2 hours using the network of Sustrans cycle routes. I’d hope that these would be suitable for most abilities, but depending on interest and numbers we could divide the group into beginner and intermediate for example The structure will develop over time. The weekend rides will be mostly on road during Spring/Summer. Duration and difficulty will depend on the group and will be tailored on the day. If there’s enough interest in these rides we’ll extend into autumn, weather permitting.

Finally, I want to tell you all that the reason that I started Steel Town Cycles was to be a hub of the local cycling community. A source of advice as well as the shop side of things. The very first bike shop that I went into with my dad as a kid was in Blackhill and years later here I am trying to bring a little tradition back into a fast moving world.

Thanks for reading. This is an ongoing journey for me and it’s cost me more than money. To my customers, friends and family I am truly blessed.

2021 – Restoration of Healthy Habits

It’s been sometime since I have written, but My hope is write a blog once a month again. As much to inspire myself as give helpful tips and insights on a range of cycling subjects.

My little inspiration

Towards the end of last year, our old workshop, which many of you had been to became unusable due to building work on the house opposite. A move to another workshop space became unviable. We tried running mobile for a little time, but with the setup we have that was very difficult to effectively manage.

A New Chapter

The good news is that with a little bit of help from family and friends we found a shop. Best of all it’s not too far from where we had been based. On Monday 4th January 2021, this next chapter of our story will begin. It’s going to be a bit of a work in progress as we wanted to get the workshop open first. Hopefully by the end of January we’ll be organised. Subject to availability we are looking to expand our offering into more brands.

Being a small independent shop, we need the help of our family, friends and cycling community to continue to support our cyclists of whatever ability. We all have the love of bikes in common. We only ask that you help spread the word and help us to keep providing a good quality service.

200k, you must be mad

Last year, pre COVID-19 myself and a friend of the shop entered the Dirty Reiver 200 gravel event. This takes place in and around Keilder Forrest in Northumberland. We both had a mountain to climb in terms of preparation, but hey we had 6 months at the time we entered. Piece of cake, no problem. Wrong. You see the thing about being immersed in cycling, fixing others bikes, means that we don’t make the time to ride ourselves.

As 2020 started it became apparent that this would not be a normal year. By February we were snowed under. Time was ever more scarce and I lost my mojo. The Covid-19 hit and pretty soon the event was cancelled. Great, more time to train. Well dear reader, the rest is history but enough to say that my mojo didn’t return.

Here we are 2021, Dirty Riever rescheduled for early April. We have just over 3 months to get into something that resembles fitness. Can we do it……..of course we can.

First I need to build my bike……..

A new hope……

The reason for writing this is as much to get me motivated and with a bit of luck it might persuade you to get out on that bike you managed to get your hands on during lockdown and keep up those healthy habits in 2021. Set yourself a goal maybe it’s to cycle a few times a week, maybe it’s to enter your first sportive. Enjoy it, appreciate what a fabulous county we live in.

Whatever it is Steel Town Cycles will be here for you.

Covid-19 – A few changes to what we do

Steel Town Cycles respect the right of people to responsibly ride their bicycles following this guidance. If you are not self isolating and wish to continue getting out in the fresh air please be sensible and ride solo or keep the advised distance of 2 metres in mind.

From Monday 23rd march we’ll be asking you to respect the 2 metre distance at all times. We always wear gloves while handling your bikes. If it is possible please bring your bikes in reasonably clean condition. Please don’t be offended but we’ll disinfect your bike for yours and our safety. We’d ask respectfully if you would wait before entering the workshop. It may be possible to assess your bike outside, weather dependant.

Also from Monday 23rd we’ll be open for drop off/collection between 10-12. Most of our workshop time will be in the evenings to further protect our customers and ourselves. Be assured we are open as long as we are permitted. In these challenging times think about supporting the small independents as the larger shops will get much more in the way of financial support for them and their employees. It is uncertain at this point if the self employed will.

We’d like to thank our customers old and new for your continued support. To you and your families stay safe and look after each other. This will all pass quickly if we stick together as a community. Look out for people you know may be vulnerable. Lastly, if this is the end of our journey we’ve enjoyed every moment of it. Hopefully its not though and we’ll enjoy our bikes all the more when this is over.